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How to Kick-start Your Azure Cloud Migration Journey with Ease?

15 Nov 2021

Organizations of today are migrating their critical workloads to the cloud than ever. Though identification of the right data migration tools is one of the most critical steps in the process. There exist different scenarios and use cases for data migration—Lift and shift data of VMs, workload redeployment and data migration, database migration, backup migration to name a few.

And, amid available options, MS Azure emerges as the most prominent platform for cloud migration as it helps improve agility, performance and resilience significantly.

However, the journey to modernization is not easy—the process of transformation to Azure can be time-consuming and error-prone. So, if you’re planning a migration, this blog will help you unearth essentials with a detailed checklist of how to make this complex, time-consuming & costly move seamless, swift & successful.

Why Azure Cloud Migration is The Best Choice for Businesses?

Microsoft Azure is a powerful cloud platform that is highly suitable for enterprise IT environments with stringent compliance and data protection requirements. Over the years, it has evolved into a sophisticated cloud ecosystem. Whether you want to have a hybrid cloud infrastructure or migrate to the cloud entirely, Azure is the smart choice, and here are 5 more reasons why it’s emerging as a preferred cloud platform.

Benefits of Migrating to Azure

Why Migrate To Azure Cloud
  1. Streamlined Infrastructure Management with a flexible pay-as-you-go subscription model
  2. Speed & Agility to deploy, test & maintain software and apps faster
  3. Fully Integrated Development ensures timely upgrades and uninterrupted business continuity, creating a compelling business case.
  4. Disaster Recovery with Azure Site Recovery offering robust and reliable service to ensure business continuity when hit by major faults.
  5. Reduced Infrastructure Cost to get rid of reliance on maintaining local servers including installation & upgrade expenses

Want to move your apps, data & infrastructure confidently? But before you kick-start your migration to Azure cloud platform, there are a few crucial factors you need to consider.

Key Considerations to Assess Azure Cloud Migration Readiness

With careful planning and meticulous execution; the on-premise to azure cloud migration could be the turning point for your business. Here are a few important factors for consideration to assess along the way:

Identify the cloud migration business objectives

It could include factors like;

  • Avoiding data centers maintenance costs
  • To achieve increased scalability
  • Improving resiliency with better failover capabilities
  • Increasing remote collaboration

Determine the budget

This would include key parameters to consider when calculating the TCO;

  • Average resource unit size (could be a virtual server, storage unit and more)
  • Estimated growth rate of workload
  • Infrastructure overhead and management requirements (comprise of maintenance, automation, training and more)
  • Average usage per month
  • Security requirements

Team potential and skill gap assessment

This would require answers to the below;

  • What is the team skill set level – required vs current for ensuring a smooth cloud transition?
  • Does the team have prior experience with cloud migration?
  • Are they equipped with the required migration tools and technologies?

Current IT infrastructure scrutiny

It would require internal brainstorming, but not restricted to just the listed points;

  • Purpose of the applications (business need and future assessment)
  • Volume of usage with the number of users
  • Consumption level of resources (hardware, network, storage and more)
  • Resource costs
  • Technology framework (database servers, frameworks, software libraries, IT management tools, etc.)
  • Current state of integration capabilities and limitations of the applications
  • Ease of application modification
  • Network, data, and application dependencies

Identify your security requirements

A detailed security assessment would reveal;

  • Identity and access management
  • Compliance requirements
  • Disaster recovery mechanisms
  • Firewalls and endpoint security

Assess your operational readiness

An essential aspect for any organization to answer post-migration;

  • Ownership of operations with cloud-based applications and dependent systems
  • Operational model for deployments and updates
  • Consensus from involved stakeholders on the roles, responsibilities, and operational model
  • Envisioning, documentation of how operations will work in the cloud
  • Operational best practices benchmarking
  • Business continuity or disaster recovery plan in the cloud

Azure Cloud Migration Process

Azure Migration Steps

Assess

Start by determining the parts of your app portfolio that will benefit from migration. Evaluate apps to see if they are suitable for a cloud environment and what changes will be needed to make them perform efficiently.

Key factors to consider:

  • Storage – Evaluate Azure storage services and choose a solution based on the permitted number of operations/second. Also, consider the nature of the data (hor/cold), so you know what can be stored and where.
  • Networking – Explore the virtual network creation to maintain the same level of stability and performance delivered similar to the on-premise data center. Determine the number of subnets needed and define how DNS will be managed – via Active Directory or Azure DNS service.
  • Scalability – Develop an understanding to dynamically scale the business apps using Azure Autoscale. Beware, this would require meticulous cost modeling.
  • Virtual Machine Readiness Tool – Automated inspection of virtualized assets with a checklist help track and manage priorities of migrating them. The summary report covers the essentials of which workloads can be moved (priority & otherwise) and which ones would need further assessment.
  • Microsoft assessment & planning (MAP) toolkit The use of inventory, assessment & reporting tools helps plan migrations for the core MS stack ( including Windows Server, SQL Server, Hyper-V, Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track) and other environments. The MAP toolkit – helps assess environments and provides readiness input for both virtual and physical workloads that are getting moved to Azure.

Migrate

During this stage, you need to choose one of the four Azure cloud migration strategies listed in the below sections. This would enable you to define the right tech stack effectively.

Key factors to consider:

  • Do you want to run apps using serverless functions, in containers or use traditional VMs?
  • Do you need to use hybrid cloud solutions?
  • Are certain workloads compatible with the Office 365 environment but not suitable for Azure?
  • Do you need to move machines with higher capacity?
  • Do you have special hardware requirements which are not supported by specific VM sizes?

We recommend starting with a smaller PoC of applications that provide high value to the business and the ones that are easier to migrate. And then continue to move complex apps.

Optimize

After successful deployment, in this stage, you monitor application performance and look for ways to optimize it.

 Key factors to consider:

  • Track your expenses and look for ways to optimize them with a smart mix of Azure services
  • Monitor performance and make sure you’re hitting new performance milestones & meeting migration goals of at least the same performance with an on-premises model
  • Plan what you can do more with Azure cloud and reinvest to further enhance capabilities

Secure & Manage

It is given that robust security and maintenance compliance help you reap the right migration benefits.

 Key factors to consider:

  • Security – Get familiar with MS Azure’s security tools and recommendations to verify the security posture of the new cloud-based application. This would include checks for the functioning of security measures and respond to incidents and anomalies promptly.
  • Data Protection – Azure integrates several mechanisms and services to safeguard your data. Implement all safety measures including, encryption, disaster recovery, and backup that are aligned with your compliance requirements to avoid business risks.
  • Monitoring – Track the performance of data services and compute resources in real-time using tools like NewRelic or Azure Traffic Manager. This would help take the right action as all the cloud environments are dynamic and performance is not always static or even guaranteed.

Want to Maximize your Azure Cloud Investment?

Team up with us for a swift, precise & successful migration and unlock the trapped business value.

Azure Cloud Migration Strategy

For CTOs and CIOs, the choice of the right cloud migration strategy is the key to success. The migration strategy you adopt determines your choice of cloud services and the steps needed to deploy applications to them. Listed below are the four alternative strategies advised by Microsoft for migrating an application to the Azure cloud.

Rehost

Migrate applications with no modifications.

Ideal for: Legacy migrations, teams with limited cloud or Azure skills.

Benefits:

  • Immediate cloud ROI
  • Reduced app operational cost
  • Free data center space

Pros

  • Faster and easier migration with limited to no risk of application breaking at any stage

Cons

  • Potentially high risk with increased costs.
  • Disruption to business services is conceivable

Repackage

Moving the application to Azure with minimal code changes but not a major overhaul.

Ideal for: Applications that require modernization because of their sensitive and business-critical nature where disruption of ongoing functionality is a concern.

Benefits:

  • Enhanced cloud efficiency (cost, speed & resource use)
  • Improved code portability

Pros

  • Fast and relatively easy, but lets you improve your infrastructure ( by adding DevOps automation tools or moving to container-based deployment)

Cons

  • Not able to make any architectural changes (by splitting the application into microservices that allows addressing substantial cloud efficiencies)

Rearchitect

Revamp the application codebase while moving it to a cloud-native architecture.

Ideal for: Applications that require maximum agility, scalability and flexibility.

Benefits:

  • Reduces cost of Ownership
  • Drive agility with the cloud
  • Achieve application resilience
  • Enable scalability

Pros

  • Allows creation of a highly scalable, resilient, easily deployable application to leverage the full power of the Azure cloud

Cons

  • Complex & expensive migration
  • High risk of faults and service disruption during early deployment stages

Rebuild

Creation of same functionality from scratch by discarding the older application using the Azure’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) capabilities.

Ideal for: Applications with relatively low complexity and limited dependencies on related business processes.

Benefits:

  • Freedom to innovate with readily available cloud services such as AI, IoT, blockchain, etc.
  • Reduced app operational cost
  • Fast & frequent app updates & feature enhancements

Pros

  • Inexpensive and helps avoid the complexity of software licenses
  • No dependency on middleware or existing infrastructure

Cons

  • Custom-built app will typically not get the same level of functionality therefore advance evaluation of the application is required in the Azure environment

Further, do read this blog to learn more about the 6 R’s of migration and the listed strategies would essentially answer all your questions around how to move your IT assets to the cloud.

Azure Cloud Migration Tools

Listed below are the core tools to ensure seamless migration:

  1. Azure Migrate: A fully-loaded tool for monitoring, managing, and executing all the front-end work.
  2. Azure Data Box: Designed to assist in data migration while maintaining robust security even in scenarios with limited network availability or time constraints.
  3. Azure Database Migration Service: A self-guided tool with easy-to-follow steps to aid for a seamless migration.
  4. Data Migration Assistant: Analyzes on-premised SQL servers to identify incompatibilities and errors, enabling all necessary adjustments for quick and efficient data migration.

Azure Migration Cost

At Rishabh, we recognize the unique challenges of every vertical and know the great opportunities that lie untapped. We will work with you to determine the best path to cloud transformation with a proof of concept. Our consulting services are inclusive of readiness assessment, support services, and azure cost optimization.

Listed below are the essential cost consideration factors for MS Azure migration:

  • Scope of migration (cost of offshore resources) per server
  • Target app deployment option & timelines (Azure public cloud, Amazon Stack, or hybrid).
  • Testing effort estimate
  • Average application life span and its migration readiness – it would also cover the scope of infrastructure, code and configuration changes.
  • Complexity of applications with their dependencies.
  • Volume of data to transfer.
  • Extent of migration automation with software licensing cost.

Post-migration considerations;

  • Hiring an IT support team with Azure proficiency
  • Training of in-house IT teams
  • Recurring Azure infrastructure charges based on storage and compute resources, network bandwidth usage, the physical location of data centers

Why Global Businesses Rely on Rishabh to Move to Cloud

As Microsoft Gold Partner with two decades of association with Microsoft, you can be confident of successful migration to Azure cloud with us. We’ve experience of multi-level cloud migrations for businesses worldwide to become competitive in today’s dynamic and ever-evolving business landscape. Our Azure cloud migration services are tailored to meet the latest industry standards and support your business needs. Here are some real-life projects;

Azure Migration Use Cases

Use Case 1:

Legacy Application Modernization on Cloud

A US-based healthcare service provider wanted to streamline their services for 3000+ professionals associated with them

Rishabh team helps modernize & migrate their legacy appointment scheduling application to help streamline the business workflows.

Key Benefits:

  • 40% boost in application performance
  • 30% increase in operational efficiency with improved UI
  • 5000+ bookings per day managed efficiently

Use Case 2:

Cloud-based Real Estate Portal Development

A North American realtor hosting 25,000+ new property listing every month wanted to develop a cloud-based robust property portal to connect agents, buyers and sellers over a single platform.

Rishabh team helped reengineered the legacy portal to a  cloud-based property portal with Azure cloud to enable centralized administration, property listing and user management.

Key Benefits:

  • 300,000+ visits per month on the website
  • 50K+ users registered post-upgrade
  • 45% reduction in operational expense

To Conclude

While the article provides an exhaustive outlook of Azure cloud migration with an outline, your cloud journey would likely require more customization along the way. And, with an accurate migration plan, Rishabh’s Azure consulting services team can help take your business from on-premise into the cloud.

Benefit from the Security, Scalability & Agility of Azure

We enable businesses to migrate with confidence and digitally transform their core business to drive real value